Olthius Kleer Townshend LLP Achieves Efficiency and Document Consistency with Word LX™ Enterprise
“For our lawyers and legal staff, Word LX™ Enterprise is a major time saver. We see the benefits every day, allowing for increased focus on our clients and other billing opportunities.”
– Philip Rouse, Office Manager
About the Firm
Olthuis Kleer Townshend, LLP, (OKT hereafter) specializes in Aboriginal Rights and First Nations Law and works to support Indigenous communities by helping them properly navigate and get the most from the Canadian legal system. OKT’s lawyers and staff are advocates for Indigenous communities across Canada, both as legal professionals and as members of those communities and the firm is committed to hiring indigenous peoples at all levels, from staff to lawyers.
Document Standards were the Driver
We sat down with Philip Rouse, the Office Manager at OKT, to discuss the evolution of Word LX™ Enterprise (hereafter Word LX™) at his firm and learn how the solution has benefited them. When OKT was formed back in 2000 they knew they needed a system to manage templates and precedents efficiently and they wanted their documents to have a consistent look and feel. They decided on Word LX™, an “add-in” for Microsoft Word that provides template management capabilities and advanced tools that simplify document creation for law firms. The Word LX™ interface provides a separate “ribbon” in Word that is loaded with customized features making document creation faster while promoting consistent use of a firm’s document standards.
Implementing Word LX™ was an easy decision for us. We were building out our workflow processes and establishing brand standards for the new firm. We had used the solution before and knew it was a great product that could deliver on our needs.
– Philip Rouse, Office Manager, OKT
In addition to helping standardize their documents, they knew that the legal specific formatting tools in Word LX™ would deliver efficiencies and improve the quality of their documents.
Time Savings with Template Automation
A core component of every Word LX™ implementation is customized correspondence templates – ie: letter, fax, memo, envelopes and address labels – that are pre-set with a firm’s logo, fonts, styles, and other formatting elements that a firm specifies. These templates are accessible directly from the Word LX™ ribbon allowing users to quickly generate documents without having to search through a firm’s network.
Additional time savings are achieved through automation that is built into these templates. Placeholders for a wide range of variable content such as client names, address information, and file numbers enable this information to be automatically inserted into documents which eliminates errors and results in significant time savings.
Other templates for invoices, internal documents and precedents are stored in the Word LX™ ribbon as well, providing quick access and ensures everyone is working off the most current version.
Specialized Tools Enable Time Savings
Legal professionals spend a significant portion of their working hours in Microsoft Word performing repetitive formatting and editing tasks which can be frustrating and time-consuming. Word LX™ is aimed at simplifying that work by making the existing features in Microsoft Word simpler to use while adding other tools designed specifically for use in a legal setting. OKT has found that these tools simplify formatting and are invaluable to its work. For example, inserting letterhead elements, tables, signature lines, document identification, and watermarks can be done in a single mouse click. Additional tools make it simple and fast to update client information to a document, reorder or removing appendices, and insert exhibit stamps.
“I always have the Word LX™ ribbon up. Managing multiple drafts of a document is simple. I just hit the watermark button and it’s done.” – Cathy Ball, Legal Assistant, OKT.
At OKT, everyone uses Word LX™. It’s a simple, intuitive interface and everyone agrees that the solution is a huge time-saver for the firm. It allows them to focus on the details of their cases, their clients, and the practice of law, rather than on document minutiae. According to Rouse, “Our team can concentrate on the law, and spend less time on validating the accuracy of client contact information.” “No one,” says Rouse, “wants a frustrated lawyer,” and he believes that the commitment to use Word LX™ as the central component of their document creation process has resulted in reduced frustration, more consistent and accurate documents, and significant time savings for everyone.
Standardization Supports Improved Collaboration
Word LX™ also takes the pain and frustration out of numbering and formatting documents. The numbering schemes and options for styles are designed for legal documents as opposed to the generic options found in Microsoft Word. Word LX™ clients specify and customize the numbering and style formats based on how they want their documents to look and they can vary them to support different practice areas.
Having established standards for styles, and numbering enables greater collaboration which is important for OKT given that they have only 8 staff who work extremely hard to support the firm’s 28 lawyers.
“You don’t have to remember which paragraph numbering scheme to use or how it should look because they have been standardized for the firm. This saves us time, ensures consistency and allows anyone to work on any document.” – Cathy Ball, Legal Assistant, OKT.
The pre-established settings for numbering and styles also save time when documents are shared among various parties, or firms involved in a case. When documents are sent from OKT to other firms, they are often returned with a mix of inconsistent formatting. According to Philip Rouse, “The tools provided in Word LX allow us to correct and reformat these documents quickly and easily, and painlessly. A lengthy document that takes less than an hour to correctly format using Word LX™, would easily take twice as long using traditional methods.”
Cathy Ball notes that the use of Word LX™ by everyone at OKT ensures that documents look and feel exactly the same, preserving not only the firm’s identity but also ensuring accuracy.
Every document we produce, regardless of who prepared it looks and feels professional. We’re all using the same product. All the numbering is the same; all of the references are the same. You don’t have one person doing things one way, another person doing it that way. It’s all uniform, which makes us look better.
– Cathy Ball, Legal Assistant
Moving Forward with Word LX™
Word LX™ has made the business of practicing law simpler and more efficient at OKT and this simplicity has allowed them to dedicate less time to preparing and editing documents, and more time to their clients, and their cases. The consistency, automation, and time savings offered by Word LX™ are a key component of the culture at OKT and it is has seen universal appreciation by their lawyers and staff.
The firm is growing in both their Yellowknife and Toronto locations and will continue to rely on technology to do their work effectively. When new lawyers and staff join the firm they often need to shift their thought patterns to meet the needs of their unique clientele. “I always say to new people: think different. Our client base is different, their needs are different,” says Rouse on hiring new staff, adding, “Word LX gives us one less thing to worry about.”